Whilst heavy rain fell in Nairobi, and in the Northern Area of Tsavo, it just happened to miss out Voi, and the area around Mazinga Hill utilized by our Voi Unit. Hence, it has been a very challenging month for the orphans, and their Keepers, who have had to walk long distances in search of food, the country there dessicated with hardly a blade of green anywhere. Mukwaju, who is the mountaineer of the group, has often led the orphans to feed in between the rocks of Mazinga Hill, where a few greener shoots grow in amongst the boulders. Pleasing, however, has been a marked improvement in Mweiga’s health, who has been enjoying extra supplements in the form of Horse Cubes, and also Aloe juice in her milk to help arthritic joints. Despite the hardships the Voi unit have remained in good condition, and a happy and playful cohesive unit.
Very exciting was a visit from Eleanor’s wild Matriarch and best friend “Catherine” and her family, who greeted all the orphans very fondly on the 24th, doing the rounds of each Stockade and touching them all gently with her trunk. Another extremely touching event was the appearance of Orphan Lissa and her younger daughter, who came back with Ilingwezi. Ilingwezi is now part of Emily’s group, and obviously Lissa’s older calf, Lara, must have been left with Emily, Aitong, Sweet Sally and Tsavo, since she was not present when Lissa brought back Ilingwezi. Like old times, Ilingwezi was happy to spend the night amongst her old friends in the Stockade, but first thing the next morning, she left to rejoin her new unit, i.e. Emily’s Group. Then on the 29th, the orphans were happy to meet up again with Lissa, and this time both her children, on Mazinga Hill, and apparently gave them a geography lesson on the hill, taking them all around.
Although Mweiga usually opts to remain at the bottom of the hill, with her friend Sosian, who very unselfishly foregoes a lot of fun in order to keep her company, she has climbed quite high up on several occasions. Sadly, on one of these she was knocked down inadvertently by Morani, who suffered a very guilty conscience and made himself scarce, ashamed of having done this.
It is always a privilege to be leader of the group, and Burra and Laikipia feature prominently in this role in this month’s Diary. Although Burra is still having milk, and only 5 years old, he is obviously a mover an shaker to be able to take this position often. He and Solango are best friends. Elephants are peace-loving, and although differences do occur between members of the group, there is always another elephant at hand to intervene and break up quarrels. Edie came between Laikipia and Lolokwe when they were having a disagreement, and Icholta broke up an altercation between Salama and Lolokwe, and when Salama failed to bring peace between Morani and Burra, who were having a punch-up, Mweya trumpeted a message to Natumi (the Leader), who immediately threatened the warring parties, who took the hint. The Diary clearly illustrates the communication of the elephants, their accurate sense of time, the joy with which they greet the dawn of each new day, and their friendships. It also illustrates the Keepers’ understanding of their charges, and their accurate interpretation of behaviour.
Other Orphans:- The Voi Unit now encompasses two other orphans – the baby female zebra rescued from Serena Lodge in Amboseli, and named “Serena” and the baby kudu brought in by an Orma tribesmen, who has been employed as his Keeper. Both are doing fine and will soon have comfortable stables added to the Stockades for their night quarters. Currently, they are occupying the Milk Store!